Menu JTA Search

Rabbi Rosen Optimistic About Future Growth of Rumanian Jews Despite Recent Losses

Dr. Moses Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Rumania since 1948, reaffirmed here today his faith in the future growth of his country’s Jewish community despite heavy population losses through emigration and from the current series of destructive floods. Dr. Rosen and his wife were guests here of the World Council of Synagogues as part of a fund-raising tour on behalf of the 500,000 Rumanians made homeless by the floods. In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dr. Rosen said he was gratified at the response of world Jewry to the needs of Rumanian Jewry in the current disaster. He emphasized the $30,000 contributed by the Claims Conference and the $30,000 to be presented to the Rumanian ambassador in Washington tomorrow by the Joint Distribution Committee. At a lunch at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Dr. Rosen accepted a relief check for $500 from Jacob Stein, president of the United Synagogue of America, part of the World Council. Mr. Stein also condemned the “wanton murder” of school children in Beisan today and called on the nations of the world to “bitterly condemn” the act.

In the interview, Dr. Rosen expressed mixed feelings over the emigration of three-quarters of Rumania’s 400,000 post-war Jews to Israel. He was happy about their “vital interest” in Israel, but realized the loss to his country. He said the exodus had resulted in a decrease in the number of Rumanian rabbis from 600 to three, including himself. But he noted that the remaining 100,000 Rumanian Jews were renewing their faith. The Chief Rabbi, who has established an amenable though sensitive relationship with the Communist Rumanian government, declined comment on the possible reaction in his country–by the government or by the Jews–should open Soviet-Israeli hostilities break out in the Middle East. Rumania is the only Iron Curtain country maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel, but it is also a member of the Eastern-bloc Warsaw Pact. Dr. Rosen contended, however, that an open Soviet-Israeli war was “not possible.” Mr. Stein told the JTA that a group of 35 to 40 members of United Synagogue Youth will visit Rumania and the Soviet Union this summer on a seven-week “pilgrimage.” A group of 440 will also visit Israel. In Rumania the teenagers will help raise funds to aid the flood victims.

NEXT STORY